Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has issued stringent guidelines on service quality for telecom service providers and has prescribed hefty fines of up to Rs10 lakh on telcos failing to meet the benchmark for three consecutive years.
Against the previous penalty of Rs50,000 for call drops under the previous Quality of Service Rules, the telecom sector regulator has now prescribed financial disincentives varying from Rs1 lakh to Rs5 lakh, in a graded penalty system.
''We have proposed a financial disincentive in the range of Rs1 lakh to Rs5 lakh. It is a graded penalty system, depending on the performance of a network,'' RS Sharma, chairman, Trai, told reporters in New Delhi.
If an operator fails to meet call drop benchmark in a second consecutive quarter, the penalty amount will be increased 1.5 times and in the third consecutive month it will doubled, Trai acting secretary S K Gupta said.
"However, there is cap of Rs10 lakh on financial disincentive," Gupta added.
Under the new Quality of Service Rules, Trai has made the measurement of call drop rate from circle level to mobile towers in a circle.
"There have been some issues in the measurement of call drop.
''Averages hide a lot of things. Under new rules, we are taking into account temporary issues that may be there in the network as well as a geographical spread of the network," Sharma said.
Under the revised rule, 90 per cent of base transreceiver station or mobile site in a telecom circle 90 per cent of time should not fail to handle 98 per cent of the call, which means not more than 2 per cent calls handled by them should drop.
In worst affected case or busy hour of the day, not more than 3 per cent of call drop should be registered on 90 per cent of mobile towers in a telecom circle.
The regulator also fixed benchmark for radio-link time out technology (RLT) - allegedly used by telecom operators for masking call drop.
RLT is used for continuation of a call in case a subscriber is moving or is in base network area for short period. It is the time used for connecting call of a subscriber from one mobile tower to another.